Rogue company Unum had a profiteering hand in the government’s work, health and disability green paper

This is a Must-Read for anyone with a chronic disease and anyone who is still interested in keeping and reforming the welfare state on the tenets of democracy, social justice and inclusion. We’d like to add that neoliberalism no longer is a hallmark of the right. Neoliberal thinking now pervades all institutions, party politics and the narratives of the ‘evil other’, in true post-truth style. We would like to encourage people to resist playing the blame game. The deliberate dismantling of the welfare state is a disaster of epic proportions. It is not the fault of individuals who are too ill to work. The vilification must end, blame must be laid at the doorstep of corporate vultures and some greedy psychiatrists, to name a few, who have proactively contributed to the unholy mess society finds itself in.

“We know from recent history that once the Conservatives start to hold people responsible for problems that are not their fault, the public institutions that support people facing social difficulties are in peril – usually through the increasing privatisation of services, and ultimately, through the dismantling and transformation of publicly funded social support mechanisms to purely private profit generating mechanisms for the crony vulture capitalists. The only people set to gain in the long term from all of this political destruction and mis-spending from the public purse are the big vulture capitalist insurance companies, who have also had a hand in the construction of narratives of “personal responsibility” economic self sufficiency, thrift and self help. Perhaps Neoliberal governments should develop a policy of providing invisible bootstraps for citizens to pull themselves up from the damage being inflicted on them from a great height. “

Politics and Insights


I wrote an extensive critique of the recent government green paper on work, health and disability. I mentioned that a government advisor, who is a specialist in labour economics and econometrics, has proposed scrapping all Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sickness and disability benefits. Matthew Oakley, a senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation, recently published a report entitled Closing the gap: creating a framework for tackling the disability employment gap in the UK, in which he proposes abolishing the ESA Support Group.

I also said: “Oakely also suggests considering a “role that a form of privately run social insurance could play in both increasing benefit generosity and improving the support that individuals get to manage their conditions and move back to work.” 

And: “I’m sure the private company Unum (formerly UnumProvident) would jump at the opportunity. Steeped in controversy, with a wake of scandals that entailed the…

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